Depression a Major Predictor of Sexual Dysfunction in Women with Type 1 Diabetes

Alexandria,
April 28, 2009

A study in the April issue of Diabetes Care found "modestly high" rates of several types of sexual dysfunction in women with type 1 diabetes, with a strong association between sexual difficulties and depression.

Much research has been done on the relationship between diabetes and sexual dysfunction in men. But very little is known about the relationship between diabetes and sexual dysfunction in women. This study, part of the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Study (EDIC), was the largest to date of sexual dysfunction in women with type 1 diabetes. Part of a prospective observational study of the risk factors associated with long-term complications of type 1 diabetes in women, it examined prevalence, type, risk factors and predictors of sexual dysfunction.

The researchers found that 35 percent of sexually active women in the study experienced some type of sexual dysfunction, including loss of sexual interest or desire, arousal or lubrication difficulties, painful intercourse and loss of orgasm. In contrast to studies of sexual dysfunction in men with diabetes, the presence of psychosocial factors (depression) was the strongest predictor of sexual dysfunction; glycemic control, strongly associated with sexual dysfunction in men, was not associated with female sexual dysfunction at all.

To reach lead researcher Paul Enzlin, PhD, at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies in Belgium, email paul.enzlin@uz.kuleuven.ac.be or phone 32.16.33.26.30 or 32.16.34.13.04.

This research was supported by funding from the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the General Clinical Research Centers Program, National Center for Research Resources.

Diabetes Care, published by the American Diabetes Association, is the leading peer-reviewed journal of clinical research into one of the nation's leading causes of death by disease.  Diabetes also is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, as well as the leading cause of adult blindness, kidney failure, and non-traumatic amputations.

 

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.